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Blog: augmented-reality

Bruce Sterling Drops by Layar HQ, Imparts Wisdom

Chris Cameron April 27, 2011

Today at Layar HQ in Amsterdam we had a special treat as sci-fi writer, futurist and all-around AR guru Bruce Sterling graced us with his presence and wisdom. 

As Bruce says, a healthy part of the growth of any important industry is the proliferation of education on the subject. Bruce will soon be teaching a class in augmented reality, which we think is a great step towards to the popularization of the technology. 

Bruce reminds us that today, it is very common to see courses, majors and professors focused around newer subjects like video games - so why not get the ball rolling on AR education?

We also bestowed upon Mr. Sterling the noble title of Guardian Seer of Augmented Reality, and presented him with a fancy trophy. 

 To hear more about the class and Bruce’s thoughts on the current state of the industry, check out the video below!

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Ricky Gervais: AR is “A Load of Bollocks”

Chris Cameron March 21, 2011

If his performance at the Golden Globes earlier this year said anything about Ricky Gervais, it’s that the comedian doesn’t pull his punches or censor his opinions. Such was also the case on a recent episode of “The Ricky Gervais Show,” an animated HBO series based on the podcast of the same name.



But this time Gervais’ victim wasn’t the low-hanging fruit of Hollywood. Instead, Gervais has let it known that he thinks augmented reality is “a load of bollocks.” Gervais wasn’t pontificating on the latest trends in technology. He was engaged in a lively, comedic discussion with his fellow show stars Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington in which the later was discussing his vision for the future.



After pointing out that in the future, the human species will be significantly weaker in strength, pants will be evolutionarily eliminated from existence and all of our food will be consumed in a blended paste form, Karl suggests the idea of augmented reality technology within an everyday pair of bifocals.



“Everything that’s real, you’re not looking at that anymore. This is really the future,” Karl says. “If you’re a young kid and you like the idea of living in the urban ghetto with all the graffiti on the walls, you can see that.”



“What you mean is that the stuff that’s there in the real world is being digitally reimagined in your glasses,” adds Merchant. “So what was a nice country lane is suddenly now an urban ghetto.”



Those familiar with augmented reality can immediately recognize Karl’s vision of the future, and one could say that this technology is not far off. The building blocks of such a future are being placed as we speak. But Gervais wasn’t convinced.



“Absolutely mental. Pointless. Won’t ever work. Absolutely one of the maddest things you’ve ever said,” he retorts. “That’s a load of bollocks.”



Obviously, we disagree with Mr. Gervais, but he’s still entitled to his opinion. Check out this YouTube clip of the discussion of the future (AR shows up at 3:53) or watch the embedded version after the jump and let us know what you think of Gervais’ dismissal of AR.



We’re with you, Karl!



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What Can Be Done with the Layar Platform? 5 Helpful Usecases

Chris Cameron March 7, 2011

Layar has an extremely diverse community of developers creating augmented reality experiences of all shapes and sizes. To give you an idea of the different things that can be done on the Layar platform, we’ve put together a set of case studies featuring some truly unique examples.



Below are five case studies that show the flexibility and capabilities of the Layar platform and our outstanding community of developers. For each, click the “Case Study PDF” link to view the case study in full.



Layar Augmented Office - Case Study PDF
The Layar Augmented Office is an interactive 3D model that you can literally walk into and access information about the company, layer content, job openings and more.




streetARt - Case Study PDF
streetARt is an iPhone application that displays the public art, graffiti, tags and other forms of street art in your neighborhood. The third-party app uses the Layar Player to embed an Augmented Reality view, but it can also be viewed within the Layar app.



Exile on Your Street - Case Study PDF
Exile on Your Street is the official layer for The Rolling Stones, in promotion of the 2010 Exile on Main Street (Rarities Edition) album. Create and add posters in AR, listen to audio tracks, watch videos, purchase music on iTunes, and more.



The Invisible Artist - Case Study PDF
The Invisible Artist is a 3D Augmented Reality guide to 10 of London’s top contemporary art museums.




UAR - Case Study PDF
UAR (Urban Augmented Reality) displays images and 3D models of the past, future and “what might have been” for architecture in the Netherlands.





You can also find these case studies at any time on our Examples page.

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Layar: Impactful AR in Your Everyday Life

Chris Cameron February 23, 2011

It was over a year an a half ago when Layar co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald posted a video to his YouTube account revealing details of the world’s first augmented reality browser. Today that video has been viewed more than one million times, so we thought it was time to refresh it for 2011.



Today, we are very excited to introduce a brand-spankin’ new video that expresses the vision and philosophy of Layar. Produced by the wonderful people at Campfire Creative, the video below features interviews with the Layar co-founders as well as examples of the impactful augmented reality experiences that live on our platform today.





Some of the really great layers featured in this beautifully-made video include:



Please feel free to spread this video around, embed it on your website or share a link with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. If you would like to download the video, simply follow this link (Right click and choose “Save Link As”).

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Watson, Augmented Reality and the Future

Chris Cameron February 21, 2011

One of my favorite news programs is On the Media, a weekly review of media which is broadcasted on National Public Radio (NPR) in the States. Over this past weekend, hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield debated the current status of technology and the Internet in our lives and whether we are following the “yellow brick road” to technological utopia or hurdling clumsily toward a Terminator/Matrix-esque dystopia.



The discussion inevitably arrived on the question of Watson - IBM’s fancy new super computer with 15 terabytes of human knowledge and an itchy trigger finger that easily defeats futile carbon-based lifeforms at a game of our own creation: Jeopardy!



Does Watson’s victory signal the end is nigh for human intelligence as we know it and the coming of SkyNet? Or will Watson be the first step on the road toward a utopian blending of humans and computers?



Eventually, Brooke and Bob’s discussion turned to the creation of “The Bionic Man” - the idea that in the future, technology and humans will become blended as one. As Brooke points out, some of this technology is available today in the form of Augmented Reality, and that the idea of “Google eyes” or “Terminator eyes” is not that far off.



University of Washington professor Babak Parviz explains that even today, we have the technology, albeit “very rudimentary,” to display basic text onto contact lenses. But years down the line, as this technology develops, will humans be better off for having the world’s information quite literally at a glance?



Garfield argues that technology of this sort would allow us to filter out topics and ideas with which we disagree, placing “high tech blinders” on our view of the world. Certainly any advancement in technology such as this could potentially be used in less than the friendliest of ways, but that is to be expected at a certain degree.



We here at Layar side with Brooke, who feels that bionic contact lenses and Augmented Reality glasses “makes us only more of what were going to be anyway,” and we’re proud to be one of the companies helping to lead the way toward this vision of the future.



But what do you think? Is all of this data a good thing? And what could intelligent super-computers like Watson mean for augmented reality? If you think you have an answer, please share it in the comments or on Quora!



And click here to listen to the On the Media segment about the future of technology and augmented reality!

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